Foster Youth Need Stimulus Payments - No Strings Attached
Yesterday, the Department of Child Safety finally re-launched an online portal to distribute COVID relief funds to older and former foster youth. The new portal, administered by Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation, allows young people ages 14 through 26 to apply for needs-based pandemic relief. $10.5M in federal funds for the relief were allocated to Arizona in early March, but DCS is having trouble getting the money out the door—and time is running out for young people ages 21 through 26 who will lose eligibility on September 30th.
The first iteration of the portal was cumbersome and the process was time-consuming. Although DCS agreed to correct the problems and re-launch a new version of the portal, nearly two months have gone by without any way for young people to apply for funds while a new portal and process were readied. Unfortunately, even though the process may be improved, DCS continues to rely on need-based criteria to distribute the funds. Despite federal guidance, urging from community stakeholders, and a spate of other states that have adopted the strategy, Arizona refuses to make stimulus checks available to all eligible young people who have aged out of foster care.
That’s why Fostering Advocates Arizona (FAAZ), a group of policy advocates with lived experience in foster care, continues to call on DCS to use a portion of the funds to provide every young person who aged out of foster care with a $500 no-strings-attached payment. Stimulus checks are the fastest and fairest way to get the funds to foster youth who need help now to pay for rent, groceries, and other necessities.
Please join FAAZ in the #ReleaseTheFunds campaign by signing this petition.